I’m a Eurovision fan and I don’t care

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For many years there seems to have been a stigma around the people who look forward to and enjoy watching Eurovision. Some people seem to look down their nose at others who enjoy this annual cultural phenomenon. Watching Eurovision seems to be beneath some people and many people think it is embarrassing.

I think by not getting over themselves, many people are missing out on a fun night of TV entertainment and that is what the Eurovision is.

I do not watch Eurovision for the following things:

Quality music
Fair voting
Expecting the UK to win

I watch it for these things:

To banter on twitter about it

I feel sorry for those countries that aren’t able to watch Eurovision on TV, although I was surprised by the number of countries who aren’t represented at Eurovision, but who still watch it. I love TV programmes, especially live events, when you know lots of people in the country are watching at the same time as you, it breeds a shared experience feeling and this is when I think TV is at its best.

An extravaganza

The Eurovision is a spectacular TV event with some amazingly high production values. The staging, lighting and presentation are impeccable. These are the reasons to me why it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. To me it’s not a competition, it’s entertainment and who wins isn’t important. I love seeing what acts other countries have sent to the competition and what people are saying about them, the more random the act, the more I enjoy it.

I never feel patriotic during the event, probably got something to do with knowing the UK will never win but I do feel proud of the diverseness of the Eurovision zone. Yes the Eurovision has it’s own area, as not all entries are from Europe as it is normally defined.

Our way of doing it

The UK may never win the competition, but I think we must win the best presentation of the event, which to me is the most important thing. Graham Norton’s commentary throughout the event is priceless and always has me in stitches, as did his predecessor Terry Wogan. The UK sense of humour coupled with the Eurovision is a winning combination.

The Eurovision is on my list of events that I would love to go to at some point in my life, so I hope that one year I do get to witness it live, as when watching at home it seems like such a fun party atmosphere in the arena. For now though I will settle for drinking games, house parties and twitter on my phone to enjoy the event with.

Being Proud

Following on from my recent blog titled ‘Finding Your Niche’, today I want to talk about ‘Being Proud.’ In ‘Finding Your Niche’ I talked about how it is important to find your passion and pursue it, well now I want to talk about being proud of your passions.

I must start by saying, as I write this I have been listening to and singing along to “Let it Go” from the Disney film Frozen whilst being called a wonderful loser by my wife. I have no shame in saying as a 30 year old man that I think it’s a great song to sing along to.

I think being proud of our hobbies and interest makes us happier people. I think we scrutinize and pigeon hole each other far too much in this world. As a people I think we feel the need to either hide, or have to justify our hobbies and interests.

Some people are fortunate enough to turn their hobbies and interests in to paying work or companies and in the main, I think these are the people that aren’t ashamed of the things the like.

I hate how people conform and like things, just because they think it is the thing to do or will make them cool. I also feel sorry to those that have to hide things to avoid being bullied in school. I think it is at school that we make these decisions of what to like & what to hide and it is these decisions that dictate our future life and how we handle it in adulthood.

We also live in a world today when posting on social media or telling your friends about how you miss your wife is seen as making you less of a man. You are given your sex at birth you don’t need to do anything else to claim or show you are a man; it’s on your birth certificate.

I would love to encourage anyone who reads this blog to be loud and proud. To make today the day that they started owning what they were about. I will start: I love my wife she is the best thing to happen to me, I am a Christian, I like Arsenal, I like TV and I like Pro-Wrestling.

I couldn’t care about being the coolest person as that is not a competition I want to win or be apart of. I want to win the competition of being the happiest person on earth, because just remember fitting in and being cool won’t win you the happiest person on earth award.

Celebrities, ethics and fundraising

In the UK this week there have been two big fundraising events, the BBC Children in Need appeal and the release of the new Band Aid song to raise money for the Ebola crisis. Both events have been met with some interesting responses from the public and press alike.

Both things have raised a lot of money and surpassed targets and hopes, but they have brought in to question the involvement of celebrities when it comes to raising money.

The celebrities involved in both projects have had their motives brought in to question. Some of those that featured on Children in Need have been accused of using the very popular TV telethon to promote tours and CDs. Whereas with Band Aid celebrities have been named and shamed for not getting involved with the project and the ones featured on it are being questioned over their commitment to the cause they are promoting.

When it comes to raising money for charity is it a case of the end justifies the mean? Does it matter about self-promotion as long as money is made? Does it matter that Band Aid are using the same song for third time and using Internet celebrities?

I think we live in a more questioning society today than we did when both these projects came round for the first time, a society that is now always looking for an ulterior motive and not believing the best in people. When someone is publically fronting a good cause is it impossible not to think in the back of your head – are they doing it a bit to promote themselves?

Most celebrities have publicists and PR people who will do anything to get them a good bit of PR so its very hard for a good deed or act not to have a media story made out of it these days, but do these stories do more harm than good? There are lots of wealthy people out there who do give generously and selflessly to good causes that we will never hear about so we have to be very careful about who we judge.

As a celebrity by putting your name to something you can help them raise more money so I do think it is right that they use their status for good but I think as well as asking their fans to dip in to their pockets they need to do so as well. What is it they say, never ask anyone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

I think celebrities have a duty but first before just jumping on any cause should think about a cause that means something to them and support it wholeheartedly, rather than just jumping on any fundraising drive. I also think celebrities shouldn’t use charitable endeavours to promote events and products of their own as just by being in the public eye doing good things the press will talk about their events and products, as well as the general public finding out for themselves.

Like my wife put it when we were chatting about this the other night, how can you go on a fundraising programme and tell people about your own event or a product? Because if the viewer spends money on those things they may not give to the charity and you are then taking money from the charity you are there to support.

Raising money has never been this much fun

For a lot of my life I have been heavily involved as a volunteer with various charities. In all these organisations I have been involved in fundraising as fundraising is one of the key things that any charity does. Because of this I am always interested in ways that charities raise funds and how they engage with their supporters.

Another passion of mine is social media so when I see organisations using social media in a creative way to raise funds and awareness it always grabs my attention. One great campaign earlier this year was from Cancer Research UK with their “No Makeup Selfie” where females posted photos of themselves without makeup to their facebook, instagram and twitter accounts, at the same time making a donation to the charity. This really captured the imagination, was empowering to those that took park, became a trend and raised a truck load of cash.

The campaign recently that has caught my attention is the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” This involves people being brave enough to either tip a bucket of ice over their own head or have it done to them by someone else whilst it is being filmed. The video is then uploaded to social media with the person who does the challenge then challenging 3 other people to do the challenge and most importantly donating money to the ALS charity.

You can draw a lot of similarities between this craze and the “NeckNominate” craze which was headline news earlier this year, both involved posting a video of yourself performing a challenge on social media whilst challenging others to do their own. The “NeckNominate” craze however endangered people’s lives as they tried to pull the most outrageous stunt whilst downing a pint of alcohol. Although the ice bucket challenge is slightly risky the worst you’re likely to get from it is a cold.

I think it’s great when charities see what works on social media like selfies and “NeckNominate” then putting their own spin on it to create positive campaigns that engage people and raise valuable funds.

The Internet breeds distrust

It seems these days that no one will take anything at face value which in a way is a good thing as it means that people are more savvy and are less likely to be duped in to do something bad. If you hear or see something and aren’t sure about it today most people would go on the internet to research it and based on what they saw on the front page of google or on Wikipedia they will make their mind up.

I think this approach makes it harder for charities to raise money. If someone thinks one charity is bad they will blanket all charities with the same opinion so be less likely to give money. Not only this but if they hear one bad thing about your charity they will not look at the hundreds of positives as people only seem to focus on the negatives.

Before the internet charities did bad things but because no one knew about them people still gave to them. Today the internet gives everyone a platform and if one person says something negative about your charity people believe them. No one researches the person with an opinion.

Most information you read on the internet is out of context and if you were in the charity itself you would think differently about the way a charity operates. Charities are trying to do the most with the money they have, like profit making businesses they make mistakes but because they are charities they don’t seem to be given the same grace as profit making businesses.

Charities come under so much scrutiny and in a way that is a good thing but I think it is important that we don’t set impossible standards for them to reach as by doing this they can do nothing but fail.